From the demure to the daring - headwear of all sizes, colours and styles stole the show at the official iD Dunedin Fashion Week launch at the Otago Daily Times last night.

About 200 designers, models, judges and guests were welcomed by iD committee chairwoman Susie Staley, who also thanked the event's sponsors and promised a week of spectacular fashion activity.

International guest, British milliner Stephen Jones, inspired the theme of weird and wonderful headwear.

Mr Jones wore one of his own creations, a newspaper print peaked cap, in a nod to the industrial surroundings of the Allied Press building.


"When you've got a hat on, it really dresses you up in a way that nothing else can do. It's great that almost everyone came wearing hats or headwear, not only because it's in my honour, but because it shows they are coming to a party,'' he said.

Mr Jones arrived in Dunedin on Sunday night and spent yesterday taking in the sights.

"It was wonderful to get up and see the sea.''

He had twice previously visited New Zealand, where he had family in Whangarei, but it was his first trip to Dunedin.

The iD energy was "amazing'', he said.

"People really care about it and realise how special it is. Everyone takes ownership of it.''

Last night's launch gave all involved in the 14th annual show a chance to meet.

Designers from Ireland and Australia rubbed shoulders with Shanghai models and Otago Polytechnic graduates, while exhibition artists from Auckland got to know Dunedin's leading fashion stylists.

Fashion events will take place throughout Dunedin this week, ahead of the International Emerging Designer Awards on Thursday night and the iD Dunedin Fashion Show at the Dunedin Railway Station on Friday and Saturday nights.